Staff and supporters of the North Coast Land Conservancy filled the Cannon Beach Chamber of Commerce community center for a holiday party Friday, Dec. 8.
“We are here to express our gratitude for the entire community that supports our conservation work,” Katie Voelke, executive director of the conservancy, said. “It just keeps growing and growing.”
Voelke was surrounded by conservancy board members, volunteers and donors as the group mingled over light hors d’oeuvres and beverages. A video presentation by Neal Maine was accompanied by text from the Onondaga tribe offering thanks to nature and the environment.
In terms of land acquisition and preservation, “It’s been a great year, every year seems like more and more,” Voelke said. “We’ve made great headway on our big rainforest reserve campaign and doing work in Tillamook County.”
The Coastal Edge program will be a focus for the next four years, she said. In 2016 the conservancy and Onion Peak Holdings LLC teamed for the opportunity to purchase critical lands for conservation within the Coastal Edge Initiative target area.
The two-phase program includes Onion Peak, most of the Angora Peak complex and nearly all of the Arch Cape Creek watershed — 3,500 acres of natural habitat and the headwaters of creeks that supply drinking water to Cannon Beach and Arch Cape.
While eyeing a 17.6-acre parcel of forested land near Arcadia Beach, conservancy talks with the property owner are not yet underway, Voelke said. The owner sought temporary road access to the parcel earlier this year with the intent to build an upscale RV park. “We’ve expressed we’re interested, but the owner hasn’t reached out yet,” Voelke said.
For the guests enjoying salmon, cheese, wine, hearty bread and pumpkin beer, the night was a celebration.
“There have been some amazing donations and pledges toward the campaign,” Voelke said. “Some people who have never contributed pledged thousands of dollars for the next few years.”